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Tech News Today 129: Arsenic In Old Lakes

by TWiT

Published December 3, 2010

Xbox modding legal?, Google taking over copyright, Zynga buys everything

Run time 44:00
Producer TWiT
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English


Tom Merritt
Kirsten Sanford
Scott Johnson
Jason Howell


Top Stories

Meanwhile the Xbox modding trial is over before it began. After yesterday's blistering tirade from Justice Philp Gutierrez, the government had agreed to prove that Matthew Crippen knew he was breaking the law when modified Xbox's for profit. Today the government dropped the case - quote - “based on fairness and justice.” -- shortly before the jury was to be seated on the third day of trial.

Google Streamlining its Approach to Digital Copyright
-Making Copyright Work Better Online

Your choices for online video widen
-BBC Plans Subscription-Only U.S. iPlayer On iPad
-Netflix Willing To Pay $100,000 Per Episode For New TV Episodes
-Hulu Eyes Global Expansion
-Kevin Bacon is His Own Biggest Fan in this New Logitech Revue Ad

Other Stories

Google Search Engine Now Detects Bad Businesses
-Google: Now Likely Using Online Merchant Reviews As Ranking Signal
-Google Admits Algorithms Are Subjective

Bacteria first species observed to use arsenic-laced DNA backbone

Zynga Acquires ‘Words With Friends’ Game Maker Newtoy

Flipboard Partners With Web Publishers for Full Content (and Full Disclosure: Including ATD)

News Fuse

Barry Diller will step down from his CEO position at IAC/Interactive Corp., remaining chairman and senior executive. IAC owns such fine products as and Former CEO Greg Blatt will become IAC’s new chief. IAC loses Evite and as Liberty Media takes the subsidiary that owned them and some cash in exchange for surrendering its 60% stake in IAC.

Gowalla 3.0 may have just stolen Facebook and Foursquare's thunder. Gowalla has fundamentally altered their app to allow you to check-in to not only their service, but also into Facebook’s and even Foursquare’s, becoming compatible with their chief rivals.

Microsoft launched its Xbox Live Rewards loyalty program for US and UK gamers. Do things like, sign up for Xbox Live, use Netflix or other rather normal Xbox activities and earn points. Build up enough points and you can cash them in for stuff. Kind of like the old greeting card sales crap in the 1980s. Go to to sign up.

It's cool the way browsers change the color of links so you know you visited them. Except when that feature lets websites harvest your web history. Researchers at UC-San Diego discovered 485 sites that contained code that took advantage of the bug. Chrome and Safari are not vulnerable to the bug. Neiother is the most recent version of Firefox. IE users should enable private browsing to protect themselves.

Research in Motion is saying no to ugly by acquiring a Swedish design house called The Astonishing Tribe (TAT). T-A-T has done a little thing you might know called the original Android interface as well as some other impressive concept UIs, like Velvet and Augmented ID, which uses facial recognition software to associate social information with anyone viewed through a smartphone camera.

Google's love-hate relationship with the US government just swung back towards love. Last month they sued the Department of the Interior over the bidding process for contracts. Today they announced the government's General Services Administration is switching to Google for email and cloud services. Microsoft was quick to point out that most agencies still prefer Microsoft.

Apple has been awarded a US patent for a display system that would allow multiple viewers to see a high-quality 3D image projected on a screen without the need for special glasses, regardless of where they are sitting. Uses could include medical diagnostics, flight simulation, air traffic control, battlefield simulation, weather diagnostics, advertising and watching Avatar.

Katalabs has released an open source framework for building browser-based virtual worlds. The software, called KataSpace, uses emerging Web standards like WebGL and WebSockets. It allows users to interact with each other in a 3D environment that loads natively in modern Web browsers—without requiring any proprietary third-party plugins.

Kickers and Weird Science

GameString demos its streaming, custom World of Warcraft UI by raiding on an HTC Desire (video)


Mark Zuckerberg To Appear On 60 Minutes This Sunday

OnLive ushers in the MicroConsole with all-you-can-eat game plan for $10 a month

LimeWire will shut down its store 12/31

Verizon confirms contract-free 4G LTE options: same rates, pricier modems

Be a part of TNT this holiday season!


Jeremy from Charlotte: A Verizon warning


"Hi Tom and Crew, This is Derrick, the Tech Teacher from Alabama. While listening to your thoughts on Google Editions in episode 128 and thought I'd offer my theory on why Google is making this move: Chrome OS. Since many tablets are touted for their use as e-readers, Google wants to offer a compelling, in-browser book reader for use on Chrome OS tablets. I look for a Google Editions apps to be front and center in the Chrome OS web app store.

Thanks. Love the show."

"Xmarks had said other companies were considering acquiring them, and now it's been announced that they chose LastPass. This is fantastic news; they seem like a great combination. I'm a big fan of cross-browser sync.

The only bummer was that they're not making it an additional feature of LastPass Premium. Rather, they've added a separate $12/yr service called Xmarks Premium and provided a $20/yr bundle. There's still a free version of Xmarks. I signed up for the bundle as a LastPass Premium user and the fee was pro-rated. - Paul"


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Tech News Today
by TWiT
Tech News Today
by TWiT
Tech News Today
by TWiT
Tech News Today
by TWiT
Tech News Today
by TWiT